James Forsyth

Malloch Brown’s unintentional parting shots

Malloch Brown's unintentional parting shots
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Mark Malloch-Brown started off in government with an interview in The Daily Telegraph where he said too much and he is ending his stint in government the same way. Malloch-Brown stresses that he doesn’t want to cause any trouble for Brown but then says a string of things that are damaging to the Prime Minister.

The line that must have caused the most consternation in Downing Street, and from which Malloch-Brown has already tried to walk back, is his admission that ‘We definitely don’t have enough helicopters’ in Afghanistan. To put it mildly, this is not what Brown has been saying these past few weeks.

There are a couple of other unhelpful lines in the interview. Asking if his plan to do two years meant getting out before a defeat, MMB replies: “Yeah. well at the time I was appointed, [that] wasn’t quite so clear. Then Gordon was getting a boost in the polls.” He also comes out against the Trident upgrade.

The British political scene will certainly be a duller place without Malloch-Brown. Considering the importance of Af-Pak, it will be intriguing to see who Brown can find to replace him with.

PS. Early in Malloch-Brown’s time at the Foreign Office, there were reports of tension between him and David Miliband’s team. The Lord manages a rather good parting shot when he declares that, “To this day, I don’t quite understand what the purpose of [Miliband’s infamous Guardian] article was.’

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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